A good director keeps the door open for new ideas

“What does a good director bring and what does a bad director bring?”

“The good ones are hideously over-prepared: they know everything about the material, they know their own personal connection to the story, they have one. They are prepared or, if they are not, they convince you that they are – because you must feel trust and you must feel safe, and you must feel that you can make all the mistakes in front of them and they will fix it in the editing because they know what the piece is.
And the second component is that they are willing to expand the piece, they take all the good ideas and the bad ideas from everybody, you feel collaborative. They may incorporate them or not, but the door is open. It’s just a wonderful feeling.”

“And the bad ones?”

“The bad ones are jealous. One director said to me: “I noticed you talking with the other actors when you are off the set and when I’m not there. And I’d like it if you wouldn’t do that. Because I don’t like it when people…you know, I like to be in on the things that…you know…”


“It’s great when you feel that you can add [humanity, if humanity is missing on paper], and the actor will be the one who adds humanity. I don’t look for gaps, I always gravitate to the films that are literate, where the writing is very good, and I look at my lines and what I have to say and I am seduced, the way a theater actress is, by the text – because the text is king in my trading. And then I make the movie and I realize that the most powerful thing in the movie is when she reaches back, in the plane, and she hold his hand – which is wordless, it’s the thing that’s left unsaid or left out. These are the things we discover on the set, you cannot plan those.”

Meryl Streep